A toast to eggnog

A toast to eggnog December 22, 2011

Curious about where that peculiar holiday tonic originated?  Everything you need to know is here:

Eggnog really makes you wonder: How did humans first think chugging a spiced and spiked egg-yolk-and-milk mixture was a good idea? It’s a bit like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast: “Now that I’m grown, I eat five dozen eggs, so I’m roughly the size of a barge!” Yet despite its “love it or hate it” fame, eggnog has charmed drinkers for nearly a millennium.

While culinary historians debate its exact lineage, most agree eggnog originated from the early medieval Britain “posset,” a hot, milky, ale-like drink. By the 13th century, monks were known to drink a posset with eggs and figs. Milk, eggs, and sherry were foods of the wealthy, so eggnog was often used in toasts to prosperity and good health.

Eggnog became tied to the holidays when the drink hopped the pond in the 1700s. American colonies were full of farms—and chickens and cows—and cheaper rum, a soon-signature ingredient. Mexico adopted the very eggnog varietal “rompope,” and Puerto Rico enjoys the “coquito,” which adds coconut milk. The English name’s etymology however remains a mystery. Some say “nog” comes from “noggin,” meaning a wooden cup, or “grog,” a strong beer. By the late 18th century, the combined term “eggnog” stuck.

Eggnog purists argue that those who don’t like the Yuletide drink have simply never tasted the real thing. Sugar-laced supermarket versions can’t hold a candle to the homemade goodness, especially since the US Food and Drug Administration permits that the drink can be made from as little as 1% egg yolk. That often borders on “milknog” or egg flavoring.

Our founders would have had none of that. George Washington even penned his own famous heavy-on-the-alcohol eggnog recipe.

You can read that recipe at the link.

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7 responses to “A toast to eggnog”

  1. I own an EMU hen who should have started laying by now…maybe she’s upset that there’s no snow…anyway…you’ve never tasted anything as light and delectable as a batch of my emu egg eggnog…in fact it’s so light that if you take the bowl it’s in and hold it out in front of you, and pull your hands away, the bowl drops to the floor and the eggnog hovers in mid air. One egg makes about a half a gallon. Enough for the whole family.

    Peace to all

  2. I am so bemused at the thought of the emu eggnog floating in midair that I almost forgot why I came by. Which was to say that a critical ingredient is FRESHLY grated nutmeg. There’s no comparison to the chemical-tasting seasonings in storebought nog.

  3. I will pass along a tip I learned back in college:

    The eggnog recipe on the back of the rum bottle is formulated to maximize the sales of rum.

    …nuff said…

  4. Rompope the Mexican version is a lot stronger since it contains liquor. I love eggnog, any kind, the carton or the homemade.

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